LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Longview will be hosting its second annual Big Techs event Saturday.
Free, behind-the-scenes tours will be offered at manufacturing and distribution centers in the city.
Tour participants will be allowed to choose from eight different tours.
“See how Komatsu builds the world’s largest front-end loader, how Eastman and Westlake turn chemicals into products, and how Neiman Marcus distributes goods around the world, and other cool technology that drives the industrial economy,” a news release on the Visit Longview website states.
Tours will be offered at AAON, CCI Group, Eastman Chemical, Holt CAT, Komatsu, Neiman Marcus, Nucor, and Westlake Chemical.
“Big Techs is spelled a little differently than people might think,” said Shawn Hara with the City of Longview. “It’s ‘Techs’ as in short for technology. T-E-C-H.”
I went with Hara to tour AAON Coil Friday.
The company employs about 400 people, and one of them is Emily Wood.
“We design, engineer, and manufacture semi-custom HVAC units for commercial use," Wood explained. “So we make big air conditioners.”
“I can tell you’ve never said that before,” I observed.
“No, not rehearsed,” she said.
“That was good for the first time,” I said.
“Thank you,” Wood said with a smile.
Wood said they had 400 people come by for the tour. She added that it’s not just a tour.
“Hot dogs. We’ll have breakfast burritos and all sorts of fun activities for the kids throughout the day, so it’s a really fun day for us," Wood said.
However, the main reason to go to AAON or the other facilities is to get a first-hand glimpse of how they operate.
‘They’ll take a trip down the manufacturing line," Wood said. “They’ll be able to see some of our machines run.”
“Stay between the yellow lines,” I said.
‘Yes, that’s very key," Wood said. “But we’ve got a lot of sharp things, pointy things, so we’ll take smaller tour groups, and we’ll have guides to make sure everybody stays safe while they’re out here.”
In response to a question about whether the City of Longview plans to the Big Techs event next year, Hara said, “As long as there is interest from both the companies and people wanting to go see the incredible things they are building, yeah, we hope to keep moving forward with this.”
Hara added that the City of Longview got a award form the International Economic Development Council for how they showcased their industries.
“So, this event started with a bang, and we hope to continue,” Hara said.
Just watch out for the giant robots. I think they’re all pretty much caged, though.
To register for a tour or for more information, click here.
Last weekend, the City of Longview held its Little Big Techs event. It took place in downtown Longview, and it was designed to teach children about STEAM careers - science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.
The businesses that participated included the Gregg County Historical Museum, Longview Museum of Fine arts, Longview World of Wonders, and the Longview High School Career and Technology Center.